Theft suspicions over 'fancy pigeons' rescued from road by RSPCA
A PROBE has been launched by the RSPCA after nine unusual-looking pigeons were found dumped near a Hurn holiday site.
The alarm was raised by a member of the public who saw the birds wandering in the busy Matchams Lane, by the entrance to Mount Pleasant Caravan & Camping Park, around 6am on Thursday 25 July.
Urging anyone with information to come forward, RSPCA inspector Patrick Bailey told how whoever abandoned them had placed them in great danger. The circumstances had also led him to suspect they may have been stolen.
All of the pigeons were safely collected up by the person who found them before Mr Bailey arrived at the scene.
There had been a report of a tenth being sighted within the caravan park, but this was never located.
“The birds were wandering in the road and were at real risk of being hit by cars,” the inspector said.
“They seemed to be grouped near to an upturned cardboard box which had originally been used to package white shirts and had blue writing with pictures of coat hangers on it.
“The striking birds are all varieties of fancy pigeons and all have rings on their legs, but I have not yet been able to identify a potential owner.”
It is believed none of the birds can actually fly due to their unusual feathers, which obscure their vision.
Mr Bailey added this put them in further jeopardy when they were abandoned as they would not have been able to see predators or potential dangers approaching.
“It seems strange to simply abandon these unusual varieties of pigeon and I wonder whether they may have been stolen,” he continued.
“I am keen to hear from anyone who is missing these birds or anyone who may have information to be able to explain how they came to be left on the roadside.
“It’s lucky the member of the public stopped to help, because if they had been left to take their chances during the morning traffic, I don't think they would have stood much chance of survival.”
The discovery of the pigeons comes at a time when the RSPCA is once again seeing the traditional spike in the amount of animals found abandoned during the summer months.
At least 85% more reports have been known to come in than those received during cooler months of the year. Throughout June, July and August last year, the RSPCA received 758 calls about dumped animals across Dorset and Hampshire.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “It is not clear why the figures rise so dramatically in the warmer months but it may be that abandoned animals are more visible when people are out and about, that people feel less guilty about leaving them alone when the weather is warmer or even that some people dump their pets when they go away on holiday and have nowhere for them to go.”
Anyone with information about the abandoned pigeons should call the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
The charity spends nearly £30,000 on running an animal centre every month, providing vet care, food, toys and comfort.